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Imagination Cafe Online Magazine - Rosanne Tolin

Grades
2 to 7
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Check into this original online magazine for children ages 7-12. As its name implies, the articles, games, tunes, recipes, career center, and much more-- feed the imagination of youth....more
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Check into this original online magazine for children ages 7-12. As its name implies, the articles, games, tunes, recipes, career center, and much more-- feed the imagination of youth. The feel of the magazine is positive, such as the celebrity interviews, articles on careers, contests, and quirky quizzes. The magazine has lively colors and easy access to the different sections. It's all free. Don't miss the Career-o-Rama section to learn all about different jobs! One note of caution: This magazine has an "Open Mike" area for member to submit their own comments. Sign-in, with password, is required for its use, and may need monitoring. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): careers (132), interviews (16)

In the Classroom

Include this site on your class web page or newsletter. Use selected articles in class to teach main idea or reading strategies on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Parents would appreciate knowing about this engaging place for their children. Students are invited to submit articles or comments in several places in the magazine. Encourage your students to participate in online publication possibilities at this site -- with written parent permission, of course!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Visual Ranking: Analyzing and Evaluating Information - Intel Education

Grades
3 to 12
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Engage your students in higher-order thinking skills with a collaborative activity using Intel Education's free Visual Ranking Tool. Visual ranking leads students though focusing, identifying,...more
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Engage your students in higher-order thinking skills with a collaborative activity using Intel Education's free Visual Ranking Tool. Visual ranking leads students though focusing, identifying, and refining criteria as they assign order or ranking to a list presented as a visual diagram. Students use a simple click and drag to organize ideas, explain their reasoning, debate differences, and reach consensus with each other. This web-based tool is accompanied by project ideas, instructional strategies, assessment tips, and research. There are also detailed lesson plans for grades 3-5, 6-8, or 9-12. Registration is free and creates a teacher workspace in which to build the class project. The password-protected workspace is accessed through the Internet where students log on with the teacher-created ID, team ID, and password.

Teachers can use the comprehensive tutorial to learn the features of the tool. The Try the Tool section has a demonstration workspace for teachers to practice with ranking a sample list and then comparing it to other lists. Take advantage of the experiences of other teachers in six detailed unit plans that provide usable handouts and student work samples.

Be sure to disable your popup blocker as the site needs to show popup windows during the project. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get these tools from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): careers (132), inventors and inventions (101), migration (59), sorting (10)

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on your desktop and student computers for easy access or simply add it to the Favorites on your teacher web page for access from there

. Use the Visual Ranking tool to explore themes such as the role of friends, human migration, the impact of inventions, what's fair, and career choices with your students. Have student teams show and explain their diagrams to the whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector.

The Visual Ranking Tool can be used at any stage of a learning project. As a pre-activity or pre-assessment, it can help students discuss their prior knowledge and identify the things that they need to research or study further. As a mid-unit activity, it can help put new learning in a context that will be more useful in the next activity. At the end of a unit, Visual Ranking may be used to assess or reflect on learning. Students can access the project workspace from home or through other Internet access points such as the public library.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Snoopy - United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

Grades
3 to 8
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Find out all you can about Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang on Snoopy.com. This site provides a variety of great comic strips that can be applied to ...more
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Find out all you can about Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang on Snoopy.com. This site provides a variety of great comic strips that can be applied to many classroom lessons. The site also provides an Author Spotlight on Charles Schulz. There is also a link for fun and games with printable pages, puzzles, word problems, and other "fun" stuff. Some of the activities require Shockwave. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74)

In the Classroom

Have students utilize and manipulate comic strips for dialog-writing lessons, summarizing, predicting and retelling stories. Use comic strips for literature responses. School counselors will also like the Peanuts strips as conversation starters about feelings. You could even use an online comic strip maker, such as Make Beliefs Comix to create your own class or student comic strips after looking at some examples from Peanuts. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share the Fun and Games . Then have students work on individual computers or with a partner to try some of the educational activities.

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The Target is You! Alcohol Advertising Quiz - Media Awareness Network

Grades
4 to 10
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This eye-opening website provides an interactive quiz that is designed to enable students to understand the alcohol advertising market, and how the market really does aim towards youth...more
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This eye-opening website provides an interactive quiz that is designed to enable students to understand the alcohol advertising market, and how the market really does aim towards youth (which according to the website, accounts for about 20% of all alcohol consumption). Click "Begin Quiz Now." The quiz is designed for grades 6-8, but could be very useful in other grades. The website teaches students that alcohol advertisements are everywhere - TV commercials, TV shows, ads in magazines, branded clothing, sponsorships at sporting events, and more. This website also has links to lesson plans about Kids, Alcohol, and Advertising. The lesson plans include learning outcomes and many details. They are designed mainly for grades 4-8. The quiz requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): advertising (33)

In the Classroom

Share this informative on an interactive whiteboard or projector at the start of al alcohol unit. Have students guess at their seats what the correct answer would be (either on paper or by show of hands). Use the questions on the quiz as a springboard for a class discussion or class meeting about under-age drinking. Brainstorm a list together of times that they recall hearing or seeing an alcohol advertisement. Be sure to discuss the question involving the "deaths caused by driving under the influence of alcohol." 40% of vehicle deaths involve alcohol.

Come up with a list of ways for the students to avoid "being the target." Have the class journal, create short skits, or have small group discussions about how to handle the advertisements.

Teachers can also use this site during a drug unit or Red Ribbon Week as background information for students or student groups to make printable anti-drug posters using PicLits, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Comic Creator - ReadWriteThink.org

Grades
2 to 12
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Your students will create professional-looking comics in minutes using this Comic Creator site. No log-in is required. Just type in the prompted information, such as the name of comic...more
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Your students will create professional-looking comics in minutes using this Comic Creator site. No log-in is required. Just type in the prompted information, such as the name of comic character, author, caption, and of course, the dialog that goes into the speech bubble. The 'creator' chooses the number of panels, type of characters, style of speech bubble, and various props. Two actions are needed: clicking and dragging the items to go into the comic strip, and typing dialog into the bubbles. Then, presto....a genuine comic appears, ready for printing. The tool DOES support accent marks pasted from Word. (Unfortunately, there is no way to save your comic masterpieces.) This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), sequencing (31), summarizing (13)

In the Classroom

Instead of writing boring summaries, why not summarize through a comic strip. It's much like storyboarding, but the drawing has been left to the Comic Creator pros. Make a class book of the comics created throughout the year. That book will become the most read classroom book of all in an elementary classroom. Use comics to show sequencing of events. When studying about characterization, create dialog to show (not tell) about a character. Another idea - why not use the comic strips for conflict resolution or other guidance issues (such as bullying). Sometimes it is easier for students to write it down (or draw the pictures) than use the actual words. World language and ESL/ELL teachers can assign students to create dialog strips as an alternate to traditional written assessments.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Owen & Mzee - Turtle Pond Publications

Grades
1 to 8
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This colorful and creative website shares the beautiful true story of the friendship between Owen and Mzee (a young hippo and a 130-year old tortoise). The resources available at this...more
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This colorful and creative website shares the beautiful true story of the friendship between Owen and Mzee (a young hippo and a 130-year old tortoise). The resources available at this website are truly amazing. The sound clips alone are guaranteed to delight your students. Teachers will find several interdisciplinary lesson plans, documentary videos, a detailed teachers' guide, a "picture pond" slide show of the area of Kenya where Owen and Mzee reside, interactive activities to learn Swahili, and more. The beauty of this website (and story) is its ability to teach acceptance, resilience, diversity, African culture, and more in a fun and engaging style. This website is truly a MUST SEE for any elementary or middle school class. Don't miss the "KIDS BOMA" link. This highly engaging link includes sing-alongs, games, video makers, and even "Mzee's Swahili Rebus". Many of the activities require Flash, some require Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): diversity (36)

In the Classroom

Opportunities abound at this image-rich website. Share the documentaries, video clips, and the story of Owen and Mzee on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Take a peek at the "ready to go" lesson ideas for grades 2-7. Use this excellent resource as a springboard for a class meeting on acceptance and diversity. Use the link for "KIDS BOMA" as a learning center. Share the video slide show as an anticipatory set on a lesson about the animals of Africa.

Be sure to share this link with the parents of your students in a class newsletter or on your class website.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Math in Daily Life - Annenberg Media

Grades
8 to 12
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This authentic website connects math to everyday life. The website offers informational text and numerous interactive "real life" math investigations. Topics include Playing to...more
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This authentic website connects math to everyday life. The website offers informational text and numerous interactive "real life" math investigations. Topics include Playing to Win, Savings and Credit, Population Growth, Home Decorating, Cooking by Numbers, The Universal Language, & Related References . Some examples of the interactive investigations include determining whether it is smarter to buy or lease a car and how much you will save for retirement (based on how much you invest each month and how many years the money remains in the bank).

tag(s): calculators (41), money (193), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous website to use in any economics, finance, or upper-level math class. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share the website and activities. Then allow your students to explore independently and fill out the interactive investigations for their own futures.

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Garfield's Comic Creator - National Institute of Health

Grades
2 to 6
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Garfield's Comic Creator is a simple site that helps students create their own comic strips using Garfield characters. Students can choose between talking bubbles and thinking bubbles...more
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Garfield's Comic Creator is a simple site that helps students create their own comic strips using Garfield characters. Students can choose between talking bubbles and thinking bubbles as well as adding various backgrounds and accessories. Click on the ?-Box to learn more about how to use this program. This website requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory activity for talking and thinking bubbles, as well as for dialog, by sharing your own example. Students could also use these to summarize a piece of literature or even have Garfield explain a science or social studies concept. Have students print and hand in their completed work for a quick writing sample or assessment tool. The comic strips could be used in any subject area for review or enrichment.

This is also an excellent tool for counselors or emotional/autistic support teachers to use with students. Sometimes students are less threatened to write about fears, conflict, and other issues (rather than say them aloud). ES teachers can use comics to help students learn positive ways to express feelings.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ConnectSafely - Tech Parenting Group

Grades
K to 12
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This site is a discussion-opener on safe use of the "social web." Some of the tools included are social networking sites, virtual worlds, chat, cell phones, video-sharing, and more....more
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This site is a discussion-opener on safe use of the "social web." Some of the tools included are social networking sites, virtual worlds, chat, cell phones, video-sharing, and more. There are tips and advice for just about any medium kids and adults use today, as well as discussion forums where parents can ask questions and share information. Each article and advice section can be emailed at the click of a mouse. You can also download and share printable version (site creators do ask that you not modify them and that you simply tell them if you do download and share). While some posts may not represent your point of view, the important thing is to open dialog.

tag(s): internet safety (109), safety (92), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Include this link on your teacher or school web page for parents to access as part of a plan to work together. Consider using it as a hub for an evening discussion session with parents and students in a "round table" to air concerns and work together. Simply blocking or ignoring these tools is not educating or helping our kids. We want our students to grow into safe and responsible citizens both online and in person. If your school can involve and inform parents and students, you will have a better likelihood of using the new tools of the web in productive classroom settings, as well.

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Business Writing Help - Donna Shaw

Grades
8 to 12
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This website offers tips for business writing. Specific topics include memos, letters, creating visuals, proposals, reports, resumes, cover letters, and more. This site does an excellent...more
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This website offers tips for business writing. Specific topics include memos, letters, creating visuals, proposals, reports, resumes, cover letters, and more. This site does an excellent job breaking down the complexities of business writing to enable a student to walk through each step of the process. The website features easy-to-read instructions and samples of each type of business writing. There is also a Common English Errors link that includes audio; the information is available in text format, also. The audio feature requires FLASH. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): business (58)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous resource to preview on a projector before your students work independently. Utilize the various steps and examples provided to prepare your students for the "real world." Have your students create "visuals" or "reports," and then practice their presentation skills by sharing their projects with the class or beyond. Maybe have them use this site as they work in groups to request and prepare a presentation for the school board proposing a student-friendly solution to a school problem, using the tools of "the system" for their own goals. Include the link on your teacher web page for students to use as a reference when applying for jobs, etc.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Beacon Street Girls - B*tween Productions, Inc.

Grades
4 to 7
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For those teachers, school counselors, and parents looking for a safe place for "tween" girls to feel acceptance - check out this website based on the Beacon Street Girls. This ...more
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For those teachers, school counselors, and parents looking for a safe place for "tween" girls to feel acceptance - check out this website based on the Beacon Street Girls. This website offers interactive games, details about Beacon Street Girls books, and other ways to connect with girls from around the world. You will have to steer clear of some advertising content. Some of the activities require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): adolescence (11)

In the Classroom

Counselors working with small groups of girls may want to include this as an activity option or discussion starter in their meetings. Teachers who find that girls' interpersonal behavior is interfering with classwork, especially in middle school, may also find that this site can provide a positive activity during study halls and even provide some writing ideas for girls' journals.
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Make a Child Smile - Make a Child Smile Organization

Grades
K to 12
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Who wouldn't want to make a child smile? This tax-exempt organization solicits cards to be sent to their featured children. Click on the "Send a Card" area in the ...more
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Who wouldn't want to make a child smile? This tax-exempt organization solicits cards to be sent to their featured children. Click on the "Send a Card" area in the center of the home page. Each month different children with dire physical ailments are featured. The site provides addresses of each of these children in hopes of their receiving much encouraging mail. Your students will enjoy reading about the different children featured.

tag(s): holidays (147), service projects (25)

In the Classroom

Classroom teachers are always on the lookout for ways to teach generosity, caring, and service to others. Students can choose one child to "adopt" during the school year. Cards and letters (and gifts?) can be sent throughout the year, and especially during any of the holiday periods, when the spirit of 'giving' is foremost on our minds. Adopting a child through this organization promotes acceptance of diverse physically-challenged children. School counselors should embrace this site to promote the goodwill of men (children). Perhaps your student council or service club is looking for a project. Share this site as a possibility.

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Spirit of the Season - NY Times

Grades
5 to 12
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This site is a collection of seasonally-appropriate lesson plans for winter and the holiday season, including philanthropy, winter sports, and weather. In addition to lesson plans,...more
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This site is a collection of seasonally-appropriate lesson plans for winter and the holiday season, including philanthropy, winter sports, and weather. In addition to lesson plans, there are timely crossword puzzles and questions and answers about winter weather.

tag(s): christmas (64), holidays (147), sports (97), weather (188)

In the Classroom

Use this to find a curriculum-appropriate way to include the holidays in your plans. It's a great place to give students info about symbols of international religions, for example, or to explain the history and applications of volunteerism and giving. If you advise a service club, there are fresh ideas here, as well.

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Understanding and Raising Boys - PBS

Grades
K to 12
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It isn't easy being a boy growing up during the 2000s. This revealing website discusses how parents (or teachers) can better understand and raise boys. The objective is to help ...more
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It isn't easy being a boy growing up during the 2000s. This revealing website discusses how parents (or teachers) can better understand and raise boys. The objective is to help parents to raise boys who feel confident, succeed in school, and grow up resilient and responsible. The interactive features include slideshows and videos. The topics of this helpful website include "Boys in School," "The Search for Masculinity," "Active or Aggressive Boys," and "Emotionally Strong Boys". There is also a question/answer section. Some of the activities require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

In the Classroom

Provide this website in your class newsletter or as a link from your teacher web page. There is also pertinent information for teachers at this website. Use this site to help better understand the boys in your class before you pick up the phone to call home.
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Smart Girl - NSF & UMich

Grades
7 to 12
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This site values bright young women by offering features on things that interest them: surveys, creativity, feelings, writing, horoscopes, dreams, sports, college, etc. Older girls...more
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This site values bright young women by offering features on things that interest them: surveys, creativity, feelings, writing, horoscopes, dreams, sports, college, etc. Older girls will gain confidence as they find their voices and read those of others. Mentor journals of college-age "Smart Girls" share their college experiences. The site is run by NSF and University of Michigan and provides a very positive tone. They monitor content. Links are available to outside sites on a wide variety of topics.

tag(s): organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Counselors, writing teachers, and even those working with young women in emotional support classes will want to encourage your female students to submit creative writing, write surveys, learn to do websites, and write reviews of their favorite media productions. If you have students who want to know more about college life (in a positive way), share this link with them to learn about the college experience, time management , and more from the mentor journals.

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I was wondering - National Science Academies

Grades
5 to 10
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Meet Lia and learn about women scientists. Anyone, especially middle school aged girls, is encouraged to become a scientist as Lia celebrates the lives and contributions of 10 female...more
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Meet Lia and learn about women scientists. Anyone, especially middle school aged girls, is encouraged to become a scientist as Lia celebrates the lives and contributions of 10 female scientists. You will find hands-on, "sharable" science activities and games that make science fun. Book suggestions and amazing links associated with the women scientists' fields complete the offerings of this site designed to dispel the myth that girls can't do science.

tag(s): climate (92), genetics (90), space (205)

In the Classroom

The topics range from robots to subatomic particles, from biology to astronomy to social science. Use this site as a jumping off point to for scientist biographies and study of science careers in a variety of areas. Many of the links make excellent curriculum resources, as well. Be sure to make this site available from your teacher web page and encourage students to try some of the hands-on activities at home. Most are designed to be "social events" where students can invite friends to join in. Mention this to parents, as well, so they can encourage their young scientists with science parties!
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Icebreakers, Games, and Fun Group Activities - icebreakers.ws

Grades
K to 12
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Start the first day of school or a new marking period with a getting-to-know you activity from this great, searchable collection. The activities are designed for all ages, so some ...more
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Start the first day of school or a new marking period with a getting-to-know you activity from this great, searchable collection. The activities are designed for all ages, so some will not work well with very young ones (such as writing things on slips of paper). The site is easy to navigate and sorts ideas by group size and activity level for easy retrieval. You are also invited to submit your own ideas. Since the site is designed for general use, not for schools, some ideas may be impractical in a classroom setting but could be easily adapted.

tag(s): newbies (18)

In the Classroom

New or veteran teachers who want students get to know each other as they enter a new school (starting middle school, for example), want to observe them so YOU get to know them, or need to build better team skills with a challenging class or club, will find ideas to try. Mark this one as a Favorite so you can find it again, since "first day" activities tend to get lost in the flurry ---and in the fading memory-- during the year.

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TryEngineering - TryEngineering

Grades
2 to 12
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Whether you are teaching about plastics, robots, electricity or many other science topics, check this website out! This site provides information about the world of engineering and...more
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Whether you are teaching about plastics, robots, electricity or many other science topics, check this website out! This site provides information about the world of engineering and engineering careers, as well. There are 42 lesson plans that are ready to go, and many involve technology. The lesson plans have standards, objectives and age levels. Counselors will like the career section's detailed and helpful information. The website also provides numerous interactive games.

tag(s): circuits (20), electricity (89), engineering (125), machines (30), plastics (9), simple machines (37)

In the Classroom

The lesson plans are detailed and simple to follow. The interactive games will have your students' talking about the activity long after class is over. Share the link on your teacher web page so they can visit over and over. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity for students to ask questions to real-live engineers, as well. Bring the real world into your classroom.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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National Center For School Crisis & Bereavement - National Center For School Crisis & Bereavement

Grades
K to 12
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This PDF file provides a wealth of information for teachers, administrators and others that work with children. Guidelines are provides to help students deal with bereavement and other...more
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This PDF file provides a wealth of information for teachers, administrators and others that work with children. Guidelines are provides to help students deal with bereavement and other losses that affect the school and/or community.

tag(s): parents (56)

In the Classroom

Include a link to this helpful information in your next classroom newsletter or print it out for individual students and parents who may need it. Much of this information is useful to parents and other adults helping the students deal with loss. Be sure to tell your guidance staff about it, as well.

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Cool Spot - National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Grades
6 to 12
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This attractive, interactive site offers information to teens about the effects of drinking alcohol and peer pressure. Topics included range from a quiz on alcohol, information on...more
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This attractive, interactive site offers information to teens about the effects of drinking alcohol and peer pressure. Topics included range from a quiz on alcohol, information on how much alcohol is in a typical drink, and suggestions on how to resist alcohol use and peer more. A list of characteristics of the effects of too much drinking will help teens measure the effects of alcohol among their friends. Typical teen questions include "Dear Ashley" columns for each covered topic. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on the dangers of drinking. Share this link on your teacher web page and/or in a parent newsletter for those who are dealing with this challenge.

Teachers can also use this site during your drug unit or Red Ribbon Week as background information for students or student groups to make antidrug "radio" ads using Podomatic, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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